At AIDS Action, we take a comprehensive approach to HIV prevention and care, and it works. Since 2000, we’ve helped reduce new HIV diagnoses in Massachusetts by 41%, saving the state more than $1.8 billion in HIV-related healthcare costs.
Our programs are designed for those most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. We empower our clients to live better lives by engaging with them to create practical, workable strategies to reduce their risk of HIV infection. We also assist clients with getting tested for HIV and obtaining medical care, housing, and access to benefits offered by state and federal agencies.
We go beyond the basics of providing safer sex kits and HIV meds, and work face to face with the people most affected by HIV. We understand their complex needs and how these needs impact their health.
If you’re trapped in an abusive relationship, it can be hard to insist on using condoms.
If you’re looking for a place to sleep, it can be hard to keep track of your meds.
If depression or addiction take charge of your life, it can be hard to focus on your health.
These experiences are all too common for the thousands of people we work with, most of whom have incomes of less than $10,000 a year. That’s why we provide comprehensive support services to help HIV-negative people stay negative and to keep HIV-positive people in good health. As a result, our clients are more likely to know their HIV status, connect with the health care system, and keep themselves and their families safer from HIV infection.
Questions? Call us at 617.437.6200 or email email@example.com.
As one of several state-sanctioned and state-funded syringe exchange programs in Massachusetts, AIDS Action’s Access: Drug User Health Program distributes and exchanges syringes to people who inject drugs (PWID). Access: Drug User Health Program is one of the state’s pilot sites for the distribution of Narcan, a nasal spray provided to IDUs and their network of supportive family and friends to reverse potentially fatal overdoses.
As of January 2021 the Access program has expanded to offer additional services. In addition to needle exchange, harm reduction supplies, and Narcan we are conducting HIV/HCV/STI testing again. And there is now a weekly medical clinic, as well as walk-in behavioral health services.
The program also operates a drop-in center where members can access:
- Risk reduction supplies, such as crack kits, safer injection supplies, and condoms.
- Periodic risk reduction counseling—both group and individual services.
- Information and referrals to medical, substance use, and other social service providers.
Are you interested in Narcan training for your organization?
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org detailing the name of your organization, how many people the training is for, and 3 possible days and times that you would like to have the training.
Please note: Due to COVID-19, all trainings are currently being conducted via Zoom
Working to educate our community about HIV/AIDS
AIDS Action conducts outreach and education to communities and populations most affected by HIV in the metro Boston and Lynn areas. We do this through one-on-one education sessions, street outreach, and peer based models.
Positive Educators Reaching Youth (PERY) is a dynamic, interactive, and effective HIV education and awareness program for youth. PERY recruits, trains and supports HIV+ speakers to provide developmentally appropriate education and raise HIV awareness in youth. PERY speakers go to schools and community groups to talk about living with HIV, giving students a chance to hear the story of someone who has faced a variety of challenges and made the choices necessary to take control of their lives. After working with a PERY educator, students have a better understanding of HIV, reduced stigma against people living with HIV, the knowledge to limit risk-taking behaviors and make healthier choices.
If you would like to schedule a PERY speaker or become one yourself contact Megara Bell at email@example.com or 617.320.6167.
Requests for Presentations
Many community organizations request educational presentations and we try our best to fulfill these requests if we have staff capacity and advance notice. If we are unable to meet your request, we will work closely with you to make sure you are connected with other resources, including educational brochures and videos. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Requests for Tabling
AIDS Action will also consider requests for tabling at your HIV- and health-related events. Since our staff availability is limited, we are not always able to send someone to an event, however, we can send educational materials tailored to the interests and needs of the expected participants, if scheduled in advance.
If you would like AIDS Action to provide a presentation or to table at your event, please contact us well in advance – ideally 1 month before the event. Please keep in mind that due to limited staff and resources we may not be able to fulfill all requests that come in. If we cannot fulfill your request we will try to refer you to another organization and/or send you information for your event. Please note there may be a cost associated with trainings and presentations.
If you would like someone from AIDS Action to table at an upcoming event, email email@example.com and give us information about the event and the audience(s) you are hoping to reach.
AIDS Action is a safe and respectful place to receive testing and counseling for HIV and other STDs.
We offer free screening for HIV, hepatitis C, and other common sexually transmitted diseases, such as syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. We also offer case management and medical referrals.
In order to book a slot, please call 617.450.1987 to pre-register. Make sure to call us or your doctor right away if you have symptoms of an STD, or if someone you have recently had sex with told you they were just diagnosed with an STD.
As part of your visit, we offer confidential counseling to help you deal with the issues that surround your decision to test and the impact of knowing your status. Documentation of test results is available at your request.
For information on our testing locations, visit Where to Get Tested. To schedule an appointment, call 617.450.1987.
Information about HIV/AIDS & Other STDs
AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome:
- Acquired means you can get infected with it.
- Immune Deficiency means a weakness in the body’s system that fights diseases.
- Syndrome means a group of health problems that make up a disease.
AIDS is caused by a virus called HIV, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. If you get infected with HIV, your body will try to fight the infection. It will make antibodies—special molecules to fight HIV. A blood test for HIV looks for these antibodies. If you have them in your blood, it means that you have HIV infection. People who have HIV antibodies are called “HIV-Positive.” To schedule an HIV test or for more information, call 617.450.1987. For more information about HIV/AIDS, click here.
Hepatitis refers to viral infections of the liver. There are several types of hepatitis, but here we will discuss the most common—Hepatitis A, B and C. Different types of hepatitis are transmitted in different ways:
- Hepatitis A is transmitted through oral contact with contaminated feces. It can be passed through sexual contact, especially in men who have sex with men, or by coming into contact with contaminated food. There is a vaccine for hepatitis A.
- Hepatitis B is highly contagious and usually contracted through sexual contact with an infected partner or through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids. There is a vaccine for hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis C is more difficult to acquire than other types of hepatitis and is most commonly transmitted through blood-to-blood contact as can happen when injection drug users share needles. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C and it can often be difficult to treat and cure.
Hepatitis symptoms vary in intensity from person to person but commonly include:
- Fatigue, at times severe enough to make it difficult to get out of bed
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting that gets worse as the day progresses
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Darker urine than normal and sand colored feces
- Loss of smoking desire
- Dull pain in upper abdomen (hepatitis A)
For more information on hepatitis, it’s symptoms and how to protect yourself from it, click here. To schedule a test for hepatitis or learn more about vaccinations for hepatitis A and B, call 617.267.0159.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are infections you can get through sexual contact involving the mouth, penis, vagina or anus. Each year, there are more than 15 million new STD cases in the United States. STDs are more common that most people think. Young people are at particularly high risk.
Most STDs are easily cured if they are caught early. Unfortunately, many people don’t seek treatment because they have no symptoms and they don’t know that they have an infection. Other people have symptoms, but they don’t go to the doctor because they are embarrassed or they don’t realize that their symptoms are the warning signs of a serious infection. If left untreated, some STDs can cause severe health problems or even death. And if you don’t have an STD treated, you are more likely to pass it on to someone else. Talk to your doctor or counselor about any STD concerns you might have.
Click on the links below for more information on three common STDs that AIDS Action provides testing for:
To schedule an STD test, please call 617.267.0159.
Stable housing is demonstrated to improve the health outcomes of people living with HIV.
At AIDS Action Committee, we believe that everyone deserves a place to call home. Many of our clients experience barriers to accessing and retaining affordable housing. We’re here to assist with every step of the process!
AAC’s Housing programs help connect people living with HIV/AIDS to a range of housing services and options, including transitional and permanent affordable housing, supportive congregate and scattered site housing, and rental and utility assistance.
Advocates and housing specialists work with clients to help them obtain stable, affordable housing that best meets their needs and goals.
For more information about our Housing programs, call our main number at 617.450.1550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rental Assistance Programs (RAP) deliver short-term emergency assistance to the households of HIV-positive people who face eviction or unaffordable housing, need assistance with move in costs (security deposit, first or last month’s rent), and high utility bills or shutoff. While RAP programs assist individuals in emergency situations, they are designed to create long-term, sustainable and improved living situations. RAP is comprised of the Homelessness Prevention Program (HPP), the Rental Start-Up Program (RSP), and the Utility Assistance Program (UAP). HPP, RSP, and UAP are available to low-income applicants who either are HIV positive or live in a household with an HIV positive member; live in Massachusetts; and complete applications with a case manager at a collaborating agency.
The Housing Search program assists clients with obtaining safe, affordable housing. Advocates assist clients with applying to a wide variety of affordable housing options, accompany clients to housing appointments, and assist with denials and appeals. The Housing Search team compiles the most up to date information about open waitlists, affordable housing lottery deadlines, and all other affordable housing opportunities, as well as general resources for guidance in the housing search process.
The Residential Programs offer an array of permanent supportive housing programs, providing subsidies and supportive services to families and individuals living with HIV who are exiting homelessness. Our programs include project-based rental assistance and tenant-based rental assistance. All households are offered intensive case management services and housing stabilization support. Clients are referred through different sources, depending on the program, including the Coordinated Access systems in Cambridge and Boston, and by applying directly to AAC.
We partner with clients and empower them to increase their self-sufficiency
AIDS Action advocates work individually with new and returning clients to address barriers to good health, such as lack of insurance, homelessness or unstable housing, unmet mental health and substance use needs, and other personal and systemic barriers. The goal is that through short-term advocacy, clients are increasing their self-sufficiency. Our Client Intake Specialist, Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) Navigator and Linkage to Care Coordinator work collaboratively across departments to create systems and practices that provide a continuum of care and services through coordination with Housing, Medical Case Management and clinical providers. The SDoH Navigator assists clients who are at high risk of housing instability and the Linkage to Care Coordinator assists clients with navigating and accessing medical care.
SDoH referrals include:
Linkage to Care Referrals includes:
Short-term advocacy is offered at our Boston location. To speak to someone about becoming a client, contact any of the offices below:
75 Amory Street,
Boston, MA 02119
The Legal Services Department provides direct representation and legal advice in a variety of civil matters.
The goal of the department is to advocate for the legal rights of those living with HIV/AIDS in the Boston metropolitan area and throughout Massachusetts. We believe that access to legal services will allow our clients to live healthier and safer lives.
The Legal Services Department represents clients in a variety of civil matters, including those listed below. The department does not provide advice or representation in criminal cases.
- Housing: Evictions, conditions issues, security deposits, and public/subsidized housing denials/terminations.
- Reasonable Accommodations: Housing, employment, and public accommodations.
- Estate Planning: Drafting of wills, healthcare proxies, and powers of attorney.
- Social Security Benefits: Eligibility issues, termination of benefits, and overpayments.
- Consumer Debt Issues: Debt collection, student loans, and violations of G.L. c. 93A.
- Unemployment Benefits: Appeals, denials, and overpayments.
- Health Insurance: Appeals, denials, and terminations for public and private health insurance.
- HIPAA/Privacy: Disclosure of private or protected health information.
- Discrimination: Employment, housing, and public accommodations.
- Public Benefits: Appeals, denials, and overpayments.
You can contact the Legal Services Department by calling our Legal Intake Line at 857.313.6841 or by emailing us at email@example.com.
You do not have to be a current client of Fenway Health or AIDS Action to contact us about legal advice and/or representation, but you must be eligible and be willing to complete the intake process to become a client.
Youth on Fire (YOF), a program of AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, is a drop-in center for homeless and street-involved youth, ages 14-24, located in Harvard Square, Cambridge.
Over 3,000 youth have benefitted from YOF since the program opened its doors in the Spring of 2000.
The primary goals of Youth on Fire are to:
- Respond to the basic and urgent needs of homeless and street-involved young adults at highest risk of communicable diseases and victimization.
- Connect homeless and street-involved youth to age-appropriate services including on-site behavioral health and medical care through strengths-based case management.
- Create safe and supportive relationships and a sense of community through activities, events and groups
- Partner with community and civic organizations, local businesses, public officials and advocacy groups to address the short and long-term effects of youth homelessness.
YOF provides a broad spectrum of vital services, supports and opportunities based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Positive Youth Development principles. Core elements of YOF’s three-tiered service delivery system include the following:
Tier 1 Services: a) hot meals; b) showers; c) laundry; d) lockers; e) voice-mail and phone; and f) computers in a safe and welcoming drop-in center.
Tier 2 Supports: a) behavioral health services; b) medical care; c) HIV, STI and viral hepatitis screenings; d) housing search; e) enrollment in health insurance and benefits; f) educational workshops; and g) supported referrals for other self-identified needs.
Tier 3 Opportunities: a) Peer Outreach and Education program; b) Youth Advisory Board; c) Speaker’s Bureau; d) art and talent shows; e) Hiring Committee; and f) Community Give Back Days, in which members clean up the surrounding neighborhoods of Youth on Fire and Harvard Square.
Annually, Youth on Fire serves over 200 young adults who make over 3,000 visits to the center, and connects members to:
- 4,000 meals and snacks
- 2,376 check-in conversations
- 216 HIV/STI tests
- 123 housing support referrals
- 50 Narcan/Overdose prevention enrollments
To see photos of the space and our activities, please go to our Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/YouthOnFireMA
Currently, Youth on Fire is seeking donations to help support many of its free services. In the last two years, the number of clients served has doubled, while funding has decreased.
Can you support their work with a donation? Whether it’s $10, $100 or $1000, your donation will make a real difference in the life of a homeless young adult.
We thank you and our members thank you.
To make a donation to support Youth on Fire’s work, contact AIDS Action’s Development Department at 617.927.6350 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Exchange currently closed:
Please call our outreach team at 617.470.0994 for exchanges or information about testing